Thursday, January 22, 2015

Broccoli Salad Recipe

Here is one of my favourite "go to" meals or side dishes! Salad!
With so many varieties, you sure to please any crowd. Featured is our broccoli salad. I found this recipe on Pinterest and tweaked it to my taste. Here is our ingredient list!
•2-3 heads fresh broccoli
•1/2 red onion
•1/2 pound bacon or 1/2 cup of bacon pieces
•1 cup Craisins
•1 cup cashew mix (we used one that contained sesame sticks)
• 1 cup lite Miracle Whip
•1/4 cup Stevia/Slenda
•2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Directions::
1.Place bacon in a deep skillet and cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Cool and crumble. You can substitute for packaged bacon pieces if you wish.
2.Cut the broccoli into bite size pieces and cut the onion into thin bite size slices. Combine with the bacon, Craisins, cashew mix and combine ingredients well.
3.For the dressing, mix the Miracle Whip, Stevia/Slenda, and vinegar together until smooth. Stir into the salad, let chill and serve.

Changing my health

It's a new year! With that, we all know that this is the time when resolutions are made. Most of us make a list (with good intentions), but by March let our resolutions fall by the waist side. Well...not me! Not this year!

Now....if you follow us on Twitter, you might have heard me mention Plexus. Wait....wait....wait! Before you run off to find something else to read....I want to share how it has improved my health & motivated me to make healthier choices....which is the whole point of my post. 
A year ago, I was introduced to Plexus. I simply need a nudge to help me lose weight and get in better shape. So...I bought in. Prior to Plexus, I crashed mid-day at work and leaned on soda and candy bars to jolt me back into reality. I didn't sleep. I had horrible migraines. And frankly...I was down right moody. A co-worker and I vowed to eat healthier, so began eating Subway. While Subway may not be the healthiest, it certainly beat out the local Wendy's down the road. I found myself eating salads, cutting back my soda....and with the help of Plexus, I didn't need a candy bar for my afternoon wake up call. I also began drinking more water and even began to crave it! What?! Yes...you read that right! It didn't take long before my migraines disappeared, I slept better at night, and had enough energy to run circles around my 2 1/2 year old son. Had you told me this all was possible....I might have brushed you off. Now? I'm totally hooked! So much that I became an Ambassador within a month of signing up.
I have since quit my job to be a stay-at-home mom. I spend my days sharing my story with others so that they, too, will give Plexus a try. I love helping people...and so given the opportunity, I will share it with anyone! But even if you aren't on Plexus, or have never heard of it, you can still make a change in your health. Sometimes we all need a little push or even just someone we can relate with to get us motivated in the right direction. So...here are just a few ideas to help you get started::
1. Drink more water! You should be drinking 1/2 of your body weight in ounces to flush out toxins and waste from your body. Now this may sound ludicrous, but I promise it's easier than it sounds. Your body has a magical way of adjusting to just about anything....and this is one of them.
2. Add raw, green veggies to your diet. Be creative! Add kale to an omelet, eat raw broccoli or green peppers as a snack....or drink a smoothie. However you get them in...just do it!
3. Eat a salad. Try eating a salad before your pizza, burger, or steak. By filling up on a more healthy option, you will eat less of your meal of choice.
4. Work out at least 30 minutes a day! Get out for a walk, join, the gym, or pop in your favorite Zumba video to get your body moving. I promise...you will feel better. I asked for Garmin VivoFit this past Christmas to help me keep track of my movement. If I haven't been active an ugly red bar reminds me it's time to move. So, if you need reminding...seek out a device or a buddy to hold you accountable.

I have incorporated all of these into my life. Not only do I see a difference in myself, but I feel a difference. I have Plexus to thank for this. Had I not joined, I wouldn't have made these changes on my own. I'd like to think otherwise, but truthfully....I needed a little help. I still take my Plexus daily. Without it, I'd be right back to mid-day naps and my soda addiction.

Get moving! Get healthy! It's a new year....which means a new you!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

New Year...new postings!

If you're a follower of your blog and noticed that we haven't made a post since August....and we apologize. We certainly had good intentions, but have done a much better job at posting to Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to "Like" and follow us on these sights as well to keep up with us.

Since our last post, we are still making minor adjustments without our daughter, but everyone seems to be coping much better. I am no longer working and have devoted my time to my children, husband, family & friends, and our house. There are times I still wait for her to come running throuhg the door after school, but I love catching up with her via text, phone calls, and post. She requested to have an Instagram account and I love looking at her quirky picture & videos of her, her friends, cheer activities, and more. Even though she's roughly 781 miles away.....it's like having small pieces of her with us. We were blessed to have her home for Thanksgiving and again (briefly) for Christmas. A lot of her time was spent catching up with her hometown friends and family. She even spent some time in the gym practicing with her former gymnastics team. Needless to say, we were sad to see her go.....but we certainly look forward to our next visit during the Spring.

In other news, we are working on vamping up the blog. To spice things up for our readers, we plan to post on our favorite recipes, DIY projects, organizational  & cleaning tips.....and the list goes on. Our hope is that our readers will become more interactive with not only our blog, but also with post made to Facebook and Twitter as well. We want your input.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Going From 5 To 4

It's been about a week since our household has gone from 5 to 4. It certainly has been an adjustment for us all.......

A few months back, my oldest daughter asked to move to her Dad's house. This had been a day that I knew would eventually come and a day I had was NJ ot looking forward to. Having not grown up with my father, I understood her need to have a good relationship with her father and half-sisters as well. Speaking from experience, splitting time between family is very hard and can sometimes leave you drained emotionally. But it can also be hard on the households splitting the time, especially when younger children are involved. It can be hard to explain why someone is only around during at certain times of the year....and can be hard for little ones when they truly don't have a concept of time. My heart was heavy as I knew I had a big decision to make that would not only impact my home, but that could impact my daughter's relationship with me as well. I feared if I said no, she would resent me....that she would always wonder about what she would have had at her Dad's.  My first instinct was to just say no. I cried for several days not really grasping why she wanted to go.....until she told me. All I can say is that my heart sank!! I felt like as a mom, I had failed her in some way. That perhaps I had been to hard on her when she didn't clean her room, when she fought with her sister and I didn't take her side, when I didn't listen all those times she was trying so hard to tell me something. At 13 no teenager really likes their parents.....right? They're too nosy, too bossy, and nothing ever goes your way. And there's always too many rules. At least that's how I felt at 13. Now, as a parent I realize that wasn't ALWAYS the case.....but I get it. The part that has been hard for me to swallow is that she confided in her dad before really telling me she wanted to leave. My feelings were a little hurt that she didn't trust me enough to just ask me. I can't nor will I indulge in all the reasons why she wanted to move, but it has made me take a step back to examine my life and all the things that I need to improve about myself and as a mom.

After talking about it with a selected few, I knew deep down I had no real reason to say no to letting her go. I can honestly say that I know her dad takes great care of her and providing her with all of the things that she needs and wants.....that her step-mother cares for her and treats her as if she were her own. She's being sent to a great school with opportunities that she will never have living in our home state. My husband and I talked it over....and even thought he never said, I think he was leaving the final decision to me. So....I decided to let her go. Of course she was excited....and so was her dad.

The next few weeks were fairly peaceful as we packed up her favorite things. Our family took a vacation to the beach....which was a first for our two younger children. Following that, my daughter spent 2 weeks on vacation with hers dad's family. When she returned, she spent her time with her friends, seeing family, and in gymnastics. As time drew near....saying goodbye was one for the hardest things I've ever had to do.

Since she has left, our house hasn't quite been the same. My youngest daughter has kept to herself, never really coming out of her room much. I devoted time to her...taking her to her favorite places to lift her spirits. We prepared her for school and now that she is back in a routine, she seems more content. The first day of school was harder on me this year when I realized for the first time in 8 years, I had missed my (oldest) daughter's first day. You know those cheesy "first day of school" pictures that flood your Facebook wall? Instead of posting my own pictures of my children together, I was seeing her first day via Facebook. Thankfully, her stepmother has set up a group page to share "news", pictures, and daily activities.....so really I'm not missing all of the important things....I'm just watching it from a distance. And unless you've been in the same boat, it's really not the same. Family dinners even seem odd. My son's highchair has replaced the once empty chair that was at our table, but it never fails....each night he calls out his sister's name only to ask "Where's Katie?" when she fails to show up at the dinner table. He's only 2, but eventually he will get it.

As for the rest of us, we will adjust. In the meantime, we continue to keep busy and look forward to catching up through phone calls, text, and pictures. October can't get here fast enough!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Connecting with your kids

I had a friend ask me about connecting with her son. Every situation is unique, but here's my advice:

First...kids love attention ! Make sure it's positive. I'll be the first to admit I harp on the little things and remind myself to praise any good behavior whether it's with a "thank you" or a "job well done". Hugs go a long way, too!

Second: Make time. Sure...we're all busy. We work,  make dinner, clean  house....but drop the dish rag and mop long enough to ask about their day. The best time to do this is around the dinner table.  No need to get fancy. Even if fast food is on the menu,  let everyone share their day's details without interruption. This brings me to #3...

Third: Make sure you're paying attention!  In today's world it's tempting to check status updates and the latest tweets, but offer up your time without distraction. No one likes being put on hold....even when they're not on the phone. Going back to the dinner table...make sure phones and other devices are left out of hands reach. Although this is a rule we're still working on at our house, make it a mandatory rule: no gadgets (of any kind) at the table!!

Fourth: Find a common interest.  Whether your child likes board games, coloring,  or sports, find something you can do together.  If money is an issue, find a fun activity everyone can enjoy at home. Get in the kitchen and bake. Everyone likes cookies! This gives you an opportunity to spend time together and teach life skills at the same time,  plus you get to reap the rewards....or in this case....eat them!

Start small. If your child isn't into hanging out with you,  don't push the issue,  but let them know you still care. Don't make them or yourself uncomfortable. Eventually,  they'll warm up to the idea and to you!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Making Choices

Watching Izaak's medical bills pile up has become overwhelming. I rejoined the working world this past August... when I knew we would need money the most. But a prayer was answered when we were told our medical bills would be paid in full through a program at our local children's hospital for Izaak's visit last April. My joy soon turned to disappointment after receiving news that our insurance is declining to pay for further doctor visits... which we have every couple of months to monitor his growth and development. I've since had to cancel appointments, second guessing if we're doing the right thing.

Izaak is 17 months old now and is just now saying words beyond "Momma" and "Da da". He has yet to take his first steps. He has been cruising our kitchen, bathrooms, and living room. I just feel he will do things in his own time and have decided if he's not walking by his 18 month check-up, we may be forced to consider therapy.

Surely he isn't the first to be a late bloomer! Still holding out hope....

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Raising Daisies

Raising children is by far the toughest job any parent can have. We are responsible for teaching another person manners, responsibility, how to treat others, and the list goes on.
I must say that raising girls has proved to be a challenge. On top of teaching the previously mentioned, teaching girls the basic skills of being a wife and a mother is important, too. But the following article sums up some pretty important things to teach our girls!
I've been forced to think of the times I've gossiped on the phone and said not so nice things about about people....not realizing my girls are watching....and learning!

So...the best advice: Be aware of yourself! I know I'll be more careful with my words!